After a half year of setting records with the quarterly slaughter of more than 40 million head of livestock, the pace slowed for USDA’s meat inspectors, but not by much.
The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has released its quarterly report for April through June. FSIS observes the federal fiscal year that begins on Oct. 1, so this report is for the third quarter.
FSIS personnel inspected 39,472,941 livestock carcasses during the third period. Cattle producers in 2022 have said they are trimming their herds, primarily because of historic drought conditions in the West.
On the poultry side, inspections reached over 2.4 billion carcasses — the highest number for the year. FSIS personnel condemned 56,7678 livestock carcasses and more than 2.3 million poultry carcasses.
The FSIS quarterly report logs the enforcement actions taken by the agency during the period, including those it imposes under the authority of civil and criminal courts.
These actions include the withdrawal of federal inspection services. Without federal inspection, such FSIS-regulated products as meat and certain egg products cannot be sold for human consumption in the United States.
During this period, FSIS filed a complaint to withdraw federal inspection services from Ida Beef LLC, located in Burley and Rupert, ID. At issue was the felony conviction of Ida Beef owner Allan Ward for assault and battery.
Ida Beef agreed to enter into a Consent Decision and Order with FSIS that imposes safety requirements to ensure personnel is free from “harassment, interference, intimidation or threats.” The Consent Decree will run for the next three years.
FSIS also updated its complaint refusing federal inspection services to King of Basturma, located in Westlake, MI. Its owner, Abbas Hachem, also has a felony conviction.
Manager John Penn and Supervisor Justin Penn, both of Penn’s County Hames LLC in Campbellsville, KY, have entered into a Consent Decree with FSIS to settle a withdrawal action. The three-year agreement “contains numerous provisions to ensure ethical business practices and that the firm will not tolerate illegal activities.”
The previous withdrawal action was over trafficking in controlled substances.
The only major seizure and injunctive actions during the quarter are those involving Amos Miller and Miller’s farms, which have been the subjects of numerous reports by Food Safety News. Miller is a defendant in the civil action in the U.S. District Court for Eastern Pennsylvania.
Litigation continues over the illegal use of USDA inspection marks by President Michael A. Quattrucci and Vice President Joe Quattrucc of Rhode Island Beef and Veal, located in Johnston, RI.
In its routine enforcement actions, the FSIS reports a 98.7 percent “compliance rate” during the quarter. That figure is based on 1,835,135 “verification procedures” performed with “noncompliance” found 24,454 times.
Those regulated by FSIS filed 440 appeals during the quarter. The reviewer granted 105 requests and denied 165. A modified requirement was the outcome in 79 appeals. And 91 were without a decision by the end of the period.
Re-inspections of accepted imported meat and poultry products totaled 1,356,330,667 pounds, almost the same as the previous two quarters. For the year, 38,357,917 pounds of foreign meat and poultry have been refused at the border.
FSIS also detains meat, poultry, and egg products during its investigations in the United States. There were 101 detention actions during the third period for a total of 122,301 pounds.
Also, during the quarter FSIS initiated 63 administrative actions, closing out 38.
The FSIS Quarterly Enforcement Report provides a summary of the enforcement actions the agency has taken to ensure that meat poultry and egg products reaching consumers are safe, wholesome, and properly labeled.
FSIS says this report is a snapshot in time of a dynamic process. For example, matters shown as under appeal may be resolved by the time this report is published.
The report is presented in sections corresponding to the category of enforcement action. Activities reported within each category are either pending actions noted in earlier reports or new enforcement actions which occurred during the reporting period.
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